A breakdown of how Southwest schools performed on state tests

Tougher tests led to lower scores this year

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a benchmark for achievement on state tests in reading and math under the federally mandated No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – a national education initiative designed to close the achievement gap between minority and white students, as well as middle class and poor youth, among other things.

To show adequate progress, students must perform well on state tests. In Minnesota, students take the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II). Individual schools are evaluated depending on how specific groups within their student bodies performed, such as ethnic groups, English Language Learners (ELL), special education students and low-income students.

Schools may achieve up to five stars in reading or math. Schools making AYP get between three and five stars. Those that don’t make AYP for the first time receive two stars while schools that fail for two or more years obtain one star and are required to offer supplemental services. Schools that fail a third year are under state corrective action. Schools not making AYP are added to the state “watch list.” To get off the watch list, schools must show AYP two consecutive years.

How Minneapolis Public Schools performed

Overall, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) failed to make AYP, in keeping with a statewide trend of lower scores in math and reading this year. School officials attributed the decline to harder tests and the fact that more students were tested. Children in grades 4, 6 and 8 took the tests for the first time. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 were tested in math and students in grades 3-8 and 10 were tested in reading.

In MPS, American Indian, African American and special education students failed to demonstrate math proficiency. Math scores dropped from 50 percent passing in 2005 to 16 percent districtwide in 2006. Similarly, math scores also dipped across the state.

This year, 39.6 percent of MPS schools made AYP. In 2005, 61.5 percent made AYP and 29.8 percent made AYP in 2004.

Children were tested on the MCA-II tests that were more academically rigorous this year. This year, math tests included tougher equations and fewer intuitive problems, while reading comprehension tests were based more on understanding of fiction than nonfiction. A large number of math problems were also left unanswered. Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said in a prepared statement that this year’s tests couldn’t be judged alongside last year’s tests.

Of 1,405 schools tested statewide, 483 schools didn’t achieve AYP. Of those, 63 schools face penalties of not making AYP under NCLB. However, 189 schools obtained five stars.

Southwest schools not making AYP

Kenny Community School: Kenny Community School earned two stars in reading and math. African American students and those on free and reduced lunch weren’t proficient in reading. Students living in poverty also failed to demonstrate math proficiency. This is Kenny’s first year not making AYP.

Lyndale Community School: Lyndale Community School made two stars in math and three stars in reading. It’s on the state watch list. A majority of students didn’t pass the math proficiency portion of the test. Limited English Proficient (LEP) students and low-income students failed to show math proficiency. This is the second year the school hasn’t made AYP. It’s on the state watch list (phase one).

Windom Dual Spanish Immersion: Windom Dual Spanish Immersion made three stars in math and two stars in reading. African American students failed the reading proficiency. This is the school’s second year not making AYP. It’s on the state watch list (phase two).

Ramsey International Fine Arts Center: Ramsey International Fine Arts Center achieved two stars in reading and math. African American students weren’t proficient in reading or math. Special education students also failed the math proficiency. This is Ramsey’s first year not making AYP. It’s on the state watch list (phase one).

Jefferson Community School: Jefferson Community School earned two stars in math and three stars in reading. It’s under corrective action because its special education students failed the math proficiency. Last year it made AYP. It’s on the state watch list (phase three). Jefferson appealed its status, but without success.

Anwatin Middle School: Anwatin Middle School obtained one star in reading and math and now has supplemental services. African American, special education students and those in poverty didn’t demonstrate reading proficiency. African American, LEP, special education and those in poverty also failed the math proficiency. This is the school’s second year of not making AYP. It’s on the state watch list (phase two).

South High School: South High School got one star in math and five stars in reading. African American students failed the math proficiency. This is South’s third year not making AYP.

Southwest High School: Southwest High School achieved five stars in reading but only one star in math. African American students and those on free and reduced lunch failed to adequately participate in math tests. Latino, LEP and students in poverty failed the math proficiency. This is the school’s third year not making AYP.

Washburn High School: Washburn High School attained two stars in math and one star in reading. Students in poverty didn’t adequately complete the math tests. A majority of students failed the math proficiency portion of the test. African American, LEP and students in poverty failed the math proficiency. This is the school’s second year not making AYP. It’s on the state watch list (phase one).

Southwest schools that made AYP

Armatage Community School: Armatage Community School earned four stars in math and five stars in reading. It has made AYP two years in a row.

– Burroughs Community School: Burroughs Community School achieved four stars in math and five stars in reading. This is the school’s second year making AYP.

– Lake Harriet Upper Campus: Lake Harriet Upper Campus got five stars in reading and math. The school has made AYP two years in a row.

– Parkview Montessori: Parkview Montessori achieved three stars in reading and math. It’s off the state watch list.

– Kenwood Community School: Kenwood Community School earned four stars in math and reading. The school has made AYP two years in a row.

– Kenwood Performing Arts Magnet: Kenwood Performing Arts Magnet made three stars in math and four stars in reading. This the second year in a row the school has achieved AYP.

– Bryn Mawr Community School: Bryn Mawr Community School made three stars in reading and math. It’s off the state watch list.

– Anthony Middle School: Anthony Middle School obtained three stars in math and five stars in reading.

– Whittier International Elementary School: Whittier International Elementary School made three stars in reading and math. It’s off the state watch list.